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News :: Media
Guatemalan Government Accused of Postponing Agrarian Reform
04 Jul 2005
Guatemalan Government Accused of Postponing Agrarian Reform
Guatemala, Jul 2 (Prensa Latina) Leaders from Guatemalan farmersĀ“ organizations accused the government of President Oscar Berger Saturday of imitating its predecessors in their lack of political will to transform the country's agrarian structure.

The conclusion emanated from an analysis promoted by the National Farmers Organizations Coordinating Office (CNOC) when it presented a proposal for Integral Agrarian Reform (IAR) as part of the World Call for Action against Poverty on July 1.

Local and foreign analysts agreed that the initiative is "pertinent, clear, well-argued, and important for the country, for which reasons it should be supported by the authorities."

"Governments showed lack of political will, and if the current administration does not discuss this topic, it will bring about more poverty, and concentration of wealth," said Costa Rican expert Carlos Camacho, who worked here for the United Nations (UN).

For Guatemalan politician and former minister Alfonso Bauer Paiz, military and other groups are responsible for the agricultural backwardness of Guatemala.

Bauer also urged the Guatemalan government to discuss the topic, as he believes Guatemalan agrarian reform is more necessary now than ever before, as landowners in the past did not have the economic and political power they have now.

The CNOC, comprising nine rural organizations, introduced the debate on the situation in the country as "an alternative for the rural and social development of Guatemala", where great inequity with respect to the possession of the land exists.

Gilberto Atz, agrarian leader, affirmed that 90 percent of arable land in the country is in the hands of five percent of the people, "A reality that does not permit the development of the rural area", he commented.

Guatemalan Vice Presidency manager Eduardo Aguirre said the topic is on the government's agenda from an integral point of view.

He reminded them that the World Bank (WB) recognized a few months ago that the government's fight against poverty in the last 20 years has taken Guatemala into debt, the problem has not yet been completely solved, and it will not be solved during this government, though they want to set the basis for transformation.

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